Thursday, May 31, 2007

community?

I have become increasingly suspicious of the word "community" - as in LGBT community, Muslim community, Pagan community, being used to describe a group of people with a shared characteristic. It includes the assumption that the community does or even must speak with one voice, and that there are leaders of the community who will be the transmitters of that voice. It includes the assumption that identity is discrete - you are either Pagan or Christian but can't be both, for example. It is also divisive, setting one community against another. Similar ideas were expressed on Radio 4's Thought for the Day [Listen] [Read] this morning, which I found interesting, and thought "I'm glad it's not just me that's noticed this". Surely we are all part of the community of sentient beings, ultimately?

4 comments:

Bo said...

I quite agree. 'The Pagan Disunity' as some call it. I find that I have very little in common with most of the people in the 'communities' to which I theoretically belong (gay, druid etc).
There's no such thing as community, as Thatcher didn't say. Just - in the Pagan case - a lot of people disgreeing, getting pissed on mead, and bitching behind each others' backs.

Joe said...

Personally I feel sorry for the Hermit Community, they have a hell of a time of it being lumped together :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree, Have met many good Pagans out there, but what we have in common is our differences, Pagan belief and practice is all over the map. I may respect all paths, but that doesn't mean that they speak to me, or that I'm going to get something out of an open circle event where disparate elements of this and that are brought together in the name of "unity". Some Pagans believe the Gods are real. Some believe they are symbollic, or worship trees and rocks, or believe that all Gods are the same or that all Gods are different and culture-specific. How in hell are we to connect spiritually in light of this? We CAN connect in terms of rights and how we relate to non-Pagans. But a single Pagan "community"? Haven't found it.

Mercurialis

Yvonne said...

Hi Mercurialis

In order to form a community there has to be a consensus of values: that community is a good thing, and that compassion and understanding and respect for the other are required in order to create community.